(HealthDay News) – Treatment of patients with lower back pain (LBP) using a classification-based physical therapy approach shows no statistically significant superiority to treatment with usual physical therapy care, according to a study published online Feb. 13 in Spine.

Adri T. Apeldoorn, of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues compared outcomes of classification-based physical therapy treatment to those of usual physical therapy care for 156 patients with sub-acute or chronic LBP. All participants were classified by research physical therapists using a modified version of Delitto’s classification-based system, and were then randomly allocated to receive Delitto’s classification-based treatment approach (74 patients) or usual physical therapy (82 patients). Patients underwent follow-up at eight, 26, and 52 weeks.

The researchers found that there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups for outcomes at any time points. After eight weeks, patients in the classification-based group had increased global perceived effect scores (adjusted odds ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.31–3.28). They also had higher adjusted Oswestry Disability Index scores and pain intensity (numerical rating scale) scores (0.48 and 0.49 points, respectively). None of the differences were found to be statistically significant.

“The classification-based system as used in this study was not effective for improving physical therapy care outcomes in a population of patients with sub-acute and chronic LBP,” the authors write.

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